Monday, August 27, 2018

Gentle Ben

I just read Gentle Ben by Walt Morey and it was the best novel I read this summer.  The story is about thirteen year old Mark Andersen who lives in Alaska, and his best friend, a bear named Ben.  Of course, most teenagers in Alaska don't have pet bears, and it creates some challenges for the whole family.  If I taught middle school, I would use it for a read aloud for my students.  This classic is worth reading for anyone thirteen years and older middle who likes the outdoors or animals.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

memorize a poem

Memorizing a poem is a good activity for children (and adults) to do over the summer.  Learning something from memory is good brain exercise (see here for an article that extols the virtues of memorization).  For younger children, I would start with something short, but my hunch is that younger children will memorize things just as easily as older ones or adults.  The Poetry Foundation has a part of their website dedicated to poems for children.  Some poetry books for children that I like are written about here.  I also like this book, Falling Down the Pages.

This is my last post for summer learning.  I start back to work next Monday, most students I know will be back to school soon, too.

Friday, August 17, 2018

A boy, a Mouse and a Spider

A Boy, a Mouse and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White by Barbara Herkert and illustrated by Lauren Castillo is a book for children and adults alike.  This story by Herkert is a picture book biography about the author of Charlotte's Web.  I enjoyed learning more about White, but I enjoyed Castillo's illustrations as well.  Children who like to write may be inspired by this story.  Children and adults who have enjoyed Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web or The Trumpet of the Swan would find this book worth reading.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

learn something new

If you are still looking for something to help your kids do something that would benefit their minds this summer, it could be time to learn something new.  The library is full of books that can help children learn something like origami, yo-yo tricks, balloon art, cooking, magic or juggling.  Your child may have something else that they have always wanted to learn, days free of school and homework are a great time to do this.  If a child has a penchant for performing, having a magic or juggling show could be a way to share what he or she has learned with friends or family.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Pie is for Sharing

Pie is for Sharing by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard and illustrated by Jason Chin is a book to share with preschoolers and kindergarteners. Ledyard starts the story by saying pie is for sharing, but the book talks about what other things are meant to share as well.  This could be used as a start for discussion about things that are good for sharing as well as things that are not. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

play board games

Playing games with your children is a good way to build language skills and interpersonal skills, while using thinking skills.  Here are a few I would recommend.

Checkers
This is a two player game, but children as young as five can learn to play.  There is a need to pay attention to the other person's moves and keep your checkers safe while capturing your opponents checkers.

Guess Who?
Also a two player game, this is a game of asking and answering yes/no questions.  It is recommended for ages six and up.  After repeated playing, there are some strategies that can be applied to increase your chances of winning.

Chess
This two player game is one that requires strategy, my nephews prefer it over checkers.  It is more difficult to learn than checkers cause each type of piece can move in a different manner.

Scrabble
A word game for two to four players. Players must make words with the letter tiles that they have to add on to the crossword puzzle on the board.  It says for ages 8 and up, those who struggle with spelling may find it too much of a challenge.  When my family plays, it takes about an hour from start to finish. 

Apples to Apples Jr.
This is my favorite of the games, but you need at least four players (it can be up to ten), and all players need some reading ability.  It is a good game for using and developing language. 

There are many other games that can promote learning.  Chutes and Ladders is good for counting.  Sorry is good for counting and strategy.  Monopoly and Life are games where you are continually counting money and making change.